The Biblical discipline of abstaining from food for spiritual purposes
Key Scripture: Matthew 6: 17-18
“But you when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
Discussion Question 1
Why would one want to appear to be fasting to others?
Discussion Question 2
Why would Jesus associate fasting with a reward?
Fasting is among three activities that are done for spiritual enhancement known as the three private acts for power.
Act 1: Giving
Matthew 6:2 …”do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites di in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have their reward.” trumpet (4537) Greek: salpizo: sound of a blast, figurative or literal trumpet.
Act 2: Praying
Matthew 6:5 …”the hypocrites are, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men” …
Act 3: Fasting
Matthew 6:16 … “when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast” …
These acts should be done in simplicity and when possible in private, people should not do these things for the admiration and respect of peers but for the Glory of God. However, there are times when the church or the nation calls corporate fasting, prayer or giving. This is an exception not the rule (Acts 13:2).
GOD’S REWARDS: Stores, credit cards and gas stations have rewards but God’s Rewards are best!
The Desires of one’s heart (even if never uttered) can be the reward when walking in the way that Jesus outlined concerning fasting, prayer and giving or you can choose to receive public recognition for these spiritual activities. The goal of every spiritual activity should be to glorify God and avoid self righteousness.
“Man should not live by bread alone but by every word the proceeded out of the mouth of God.”
Discussion Question 3
What is the purpose of Fasting?
(more answers: 1) We fast to have a closer walk with God, 2) fasting reveals to you your place in God and 3) it destroys the yoke of the Satan)
A PLACE IN GOD
“Fasting is not intended to persuade God to change His mind” or to get God to conform to your personal agenda (It WILL NOT MAKE YOU MORE ACCEPTABLE TO GOD, SEE ROMANS 12: 1-2). Do not kick against the Spirit of God, for it is God who formed you and assigned you a place in His body, the church (a mystery) even before the earth was formed.
Christ is the head. Jesus was the cornerstone of the church built upon a confession that He is Lord and supplies every part of the body what is needed for optimal productivity. The Word of God is indispensable in mans well being even more so than food (Read/ Discuss Ephesians 4:15-16/ define supplieth v. 16).
OLD COVENANT FASTING Destroys the yoke (Isaiah 58:6) yet became ceremonial
“I fast(3522) twice a week, I give tithes of all that I possess.”Jesus quoting a Pharisee (Luke 18:12).
“Moreover when you fast (3522) be not as the hypocrite” (Matthew 6:16).
Fast (From the Greek word) Nesteous(3522) pronounced (nace’tis) to abstain from food (religiously). From Nestis (3523) ne (not) tis (eating)
NEW COVENANT FASTING WELCOMES THE BREAD OF LIFE
Jesus gave a glimpse into the purpose of fasting (to obtain a closer walk with God). When his disciples asked Him about fasting He asked them this question, “Can the children of the bride chamber (church) fast, while the bride groom (the Head) is with them?” (Mark 2:18)
- POV (Point of View)
The Lord supplies every part of the body. He directs us and is the authorized member to request that we stay in our lane when beginning to stray just as you brain voluntarily directs the members of the physical body to perform certain functions fasting brings clarity to purpose that you walk a life pleasing to God.
One can lose weight during fasting but it is not done for that purpose.
Physical health is a definite factor while serving God in our bodies.
- Obesity is the most common result of insulin resistance (page 55).
- The fall in insulin levels during fasting allows the breakdown of stored fat and stored sugar (glycogen) Fats and
glycogen are then used as energy sources between meals (page 56).
- By lowering the insulin levels and decreasing insulin resistance, the incidence of obesity and probably the progression of heart disease will decrease (page 58).
Source: SUGAR BUSTERS Cut sugar to Trim Fat by Stewart, Andrews, Bethea & Balart
Fasting for a godly purpose (pages 516-517): Explain
1) Prepares us ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
2) separates us
3) cleanses us
4) equips us
At the onset of His public ministry, a fasting Messiah triumphed over the evil one.